If you have health insurance, the best option is to contact your doctor or health plan to get tested. Doctors and health plans are responsible for providing free COVID-19 testing to patients assigned to them. See more below.
If your employer or school requires a test, go through your workplace or school to get tested. They may offer free tests.
If you do not have health insurance, don’t worry. There are many ways to get free tests in LA County.
Many pharmacies offer free COVID-19 tests. Visit their website or call to check if they require an appointment or charge fees. For information on independent pharmacies, visit doineedacovid19test.com.
With these self-tests, you collect the sample and do the test yourself. If the test is past its expiration date, it may still be good to use, learn more.
Call your health plan or visit their website for instructions.
For more information, visit the CMS webpage How to get your At-Home Over-The-Counter COVID-19 Test for Free.
If you have insurance, your health insurer is required to cover the entire cost of testing if a doctor orders the test. You do not need to have symptoms to request a test.
Insurance companies may not cover COVID-19 testing if done as part of an employee return-to-work program. If your employer requires a test, go through your job.
If your child has symptoms, it is best to get a test from their doctor or local health center. If you need help finding a doctor, call 2-1-1 or visit 211LA. You can also find a health center near you at HRSA.gov
Many County-sponsored sites test children of any age. But check before you go.
The age limit for testing children at different pharmacies vary:
If you plan to use an antigen test, check the box for the age limit.
There are different types of COVID-19 tests.
Viral tests are swab or saliva tests that look for current infection. The main types are antigen tests and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests.
Antibody tests are blood tests that look for past infection. They are not used to diagnose a current COVID-19 infection. See CDC antibody tests.
For more information, see CDC COVID-19 Testing: What You Need to Know.
Key times to get tested:
Testing may be helpful in other situations as well. For instance, consider testing before an event or before visiting someone at higher risk for severe illness. If you have been in crowded poorly ventilated spaces without a mask, such as during travel, consider getting tested. By getting tested, you can make better decisions about your health and understand your risk of spreading COVID-19.
See CDC COVID-19 Testing: What You Need to Know for information on when to test, choosing a test, and interpreting your test results.
Video also available in Spanish and American Sign Language (ASL). Manufacturers' instructional videos are available here.
For more information on home test kits, visit the CDC self-testing website.